Page images
PDF
EPUB

5. Mr Macaulay :-" I could scarcely believe my ears when I heard this part of our plan condemned in another place. I should have thought that it would have been received with peculiar favour in that quarter where it has met with the most severe condemnation. What, at present, is the case? If the supreme Court and the Government differ on a question of jurisdiction, or on a question of legislation, within the towns which are the seats of Government, there is absolutely no umpire but the imperial Parliament.”

6. Mr Pitt :-" The atrocious crime of being a young man, which the honourable gentleman has, with such spirit and decency, charged upon me, I shall neither attempt to palliate nor to deny; but content myself with wishing that I may be one of those whose follies cease with their youth, and not of that number who are ignorant in spite of experience. Whether youth can be imputed to any man as a reproach, I will not, Sir, assume the province of determining; but surely age may become justly contemptible, if the opportunities which it brings have passed away without improvement, and vice appears to prevail where the pas. sions have subsided.”

7. “ I trust myself," said Mr Brougham, "once more in your faithful hands, I fling myself again on your protection ; I call aloud to you to bear your own cause in your hearts. “I implore of you to come forward in your own defence, for the sake of this vast town and its people, for the salvation of the middle and lower orders,—for the whole industrious part of the whole country. I entreat you by your love of peace, by your hatred of oppression, by your weariness of burthensome and useless taxation; by yet another appeal, to which those must lend an ear who have been deaf to all the rest,-- I ask it for your families, for your infants, if you would avoid such a winter of horrors as the last. It is coming fast upon you ; already it is near at hand. Yet a few short weeks, and we may be in the midst of those unspeakable miseries, the recollection of which now rends your very souls.”

8. “The slightest insult to a merchant, or the captain of the smallest naval craft, was enough to rouse your ancestors to war; what, then, ought to be your indignation at the simultaneous butchery of so many thousand Roman citizens at the bidding of this tyrant? Corinth, the brightest luminary of Greece, was threatened with extinction, merely for having given å somewhat haughty reception to your Ambassadors ; and will you allow impunity to a despot who has dared to subject to the chain and to the scourge, and at last to a death of excruciating torture, a Consular Ambassador of the Roman people? Your ancestors would not brook the slightest infringement of the liberty of a Roman citizen, and will you not avenge his blood ?"-Cicero, Pro Lege Manilia.

Exercise 12. Transpose the following passages from the indirect to the direct form

1. Mr Canning said, that the end which he had always had in view as the legitimate object of pursuit to a British statesman, he could describe in one word. The language of the philosopher was diffusely benevolent. It professed the amelioration of the lot of all mankind. He hoped that his heart beat as high towards other nations of the earth as that of any one who vaunted his philanthropy; but he was contented to confess that the main object of his contemplation was the interest of England.

2. The temper and character, said Mr Burke, which prevailed in our colonies were, he was afraid, unalterable by any human art. They could not, he feared, falsify the pedigree of that fierce people, and persuade them that they were not sprung from a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom circulated. The language in which they (the colonists) would hear them (the House of Commons) tell them this tale would detect the imposition; their speech would betray them. An Englishman was the most unfit person on earth to argue another Englishman into slavery.

3. In his speech at the trial of Warren Hastings, Mr Sheridan said, that whilst he pointed out the prisoner at the bar as a proper object of punishment, he begged leave to observe that he did not wish to turn the sword of justice against that man, merely because an example ought to be made. Such a wish was as far from his heart, as it was incompatible with equity and justice. If he called for justice upon Mr Hastings, it was because he thought him a great delinquent, and the greatest of all those who, by their rapacity and oppression, had brought ruin on the natives of India, and disgrace upon the inhabitants of Great Britain. Whilst he called for justice upon the prisoner, he wished also to do him justice.

4. Sir Robert Peel, addressing the students of the University of Glasgow, asked whether he said that they could command success without difficulty? No; difficulty was the condition of success. Difficulty is a severe instructor, set over us by the supreme ordinance of a parental guardian and legislator, who knows us better than we know ourselves, as he loves us better too. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” Those were the memorable words of the first of philosophic statesmen, the illustrious Edmund Burke. He (Sir Robert) urged them to enter into the amicable conflict with difficulty. Whenever they encountered it, they were not to turn aside; they were not to say that there was a lion in the path ; but to resolve upon mastering it: and every successive triumph would inspire them with that confidence in themselves, that habit of victory, which would make future conquests easy.

5. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton said he now proceeded to impress on them the importance of classical studies. He would endeavour to avoid the set phrases of declamatory panegyric which the subject too commonly provoked. But if those studies appeared to them cold and tedious, the fault was in the languor with which they were approached. Did they

[ocr errors]

think that the statue of ancient art was but a lifeless marble ? Let them animate it with their own young breath, and instantly it lived and glowed. Greek literature, if it served them with nothing else, should excite their curiosity as the picture of a wondrous state of civilisation, which, in its peculiar phases, the world could never see again, and yet from which every succeeding state of civilisation had borrowed its liveliest touches.

6. Addison wrote in the Spectator, that when he looked upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy died in him ; when he read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire went out; when he net with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, bis heart melted with compassion ; when he saw the tomb of the parents themselves, he considered the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow; when he saw kings lying by those who deposed them, when he considered rival wits laid side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, he reflected with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind.

7. Lord John Russell said, that he wished in that discussion to observe that respect which was due to the ruler of France. He had deserved well of England, he had deserved well of Europe, as a sovereign who had consulted the interests and the balance of power, both in wars and in treaties. Of the governinent of France, that was not the place to speak; nor was he, a member of that House, the person to speak of it. For his part, when he found that the French people were contented with their own government, and that that government gave a promise of stability, he was willing to respect their choice. It was for the French people to consider on what conditions they would be ruled, and what internal form their government should assume.

8. Mamercus Æmilius, the dictator (A.U.C. 321], having summoned a meeting, said that the immortal gods had undertaken that the public affairs shonld be carried on abroad, and that all things should remain in security; and that, in regard to whatever is required to be done at home, he himself would consult for the liberty of the Roman people. The most effectual protection of it, however, was that offices of great power should not be of long duration, and that a limit of time should be set to those whose jurisdiction could not be limited. Other offices were annual, but the censorship was quinquennial. It was a serious matter to live in subjection to the same persons throughout so many years, in a great part of the affairs of life. He would therefore proposo a law, to the effect that the censorship should not be held longer than a year and a half.—Livy, IV. 24.

Chapter II.—The Qualities of a Sentence. 35. Clear thinking must precede correct writing; for no one can expect to convey thoughts accurately to others which have not assumed a complete and precise form in his own mind. This being understood, the excellence of a sentence, regarded as an expression of thought, depends upon two things : first, upon the selection of the words ; second, upon the

arrangement of the words; or, more briefly, on,

1st, Language ; 2d, Construction. 36. In each of these particulars, a good sentence requires three qualities >

1. Perspicuity; 2. Energy ; 3. Grace. Perspicuity aims at conveying a clear and correct understanding of the ideas a writer wishes to express ; Energy enables him to do this in the most forcible, Grace in the most pleasing,

a

manner.

*** The natural order of procedure is to select the words first, and to arrange them afterwards. As, however, the making of sentences to exemplify choice of words implies and requires some attention to Construction, the

latter subject is, in the following exercises, treated of first. 37. The process of constructing sentences out of materials supplied, is termed SYNTHESIS.

** In the following Chapters, special Rules of Construction are given for each kind of sentence,—Simple,

Complex, and Compound. 38. An important aid to the construction of sentences, especially as regards perspicuity, is Punctuation, which is the art of indicating, by means of points, what members of a sentence are to be conjoined, and what members separated, in meaning. 39. The Points made use of for this purpose are :

The period,
The comma,
The semicolon,
The colon,

*** Special Rules of Punctuation are given for each kind of sentence,--Simple, Complex, and Compound.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Chapter III.-Synthesis of Simple Sentences. 41. The process of Synthesis is the reverse of that of Analysis. The latter is the breaking down of a whole into its parts ; the former is a making up of parts into a whole.

42. In the following exercises in Synthesis, each element to be included in the sentence is stated separately, and the pupil is required to introduce into the sentence only such words as are necessary fully to express all the thoughts, using as subject and predicate the noun and verb printed in italics.

43. Rules of construction in simple sentences :I. The natural order of the words in a simple sentence is

the following :-1st, The subject (with its attributes); 2d, The predicate; 3d, The object (with its attributes);

4th, The abverb. II. Perspicuity requires that the words most closely related

should be brought as near to one another as possible. III. A sentence often acquires energy by a departure from

the natural order, and by making the proposition either, 1. Interrogative ; as, “Who does not hope to live long ?”

Every one hopes to live long." Or, “ Can any man serve two masters ?". “ No man can serve two masters: hence the rule, a negative interrogation = an affirmation ; and an affirmative interrogation = a negation; or, 2. Exclamatory; as, “ What a piece of work is man!” or, “ Great is Diana of the Ephesians !” Interrogation and

Exclamation are called figures of construction. IV. When a sentence contains a number of adverbs and ad

verbial phrases, it may be rendered more graceful by bringing one at least of these to the beginning of the sentence, the adverb of time being, in this case, preferred to that of place.

« PreviousContinue »